Many of you probably know now that I rescued a little piglet. Especially if you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve noticed all my pig spam, haha! I’d like to share with you how I got him and what has happened so far, but also because a lot of people have been asking me about it. It just saves a lot of typing if I write down the whole story. This is why I decided to share his story here on my blog. I also want him to be an inspiration, I hope he will make some people think and they make the connection. So here is the story of Lucky Oliver..
To start at the whole beginning. I just moved houses. I moved from London to a farmhouse in the countryside, 4 weeks ago. Very nearby is a pig farm and only a 5 min walk from the house were a lot of mummy pigs with their piglets. Pigs are my favourite animals, I’m crazy about them and I absolutely adore them. So the first opportunity I got, I made my way to the pigs. There were about 40 little mud fields with a little shelter house. Each had one mummy pig with her babies inside. I was so excited to be so close to these amazing animals. But when I greeted them all, I also discovered several dead piglets that were clearly there for a longer time. So sad. They were all very scared, but with a lot of patience, I finally got one mummy pig to accept me. She was still very suspicious of me, but she allowed me to come close to her babies. She had 10 babies, who were about 5 weeks old at that time. From that time I went to the pigs straight after work and in the weekends I was also covered in mud. I easily spend a few hours with them each time or until it was dark. They eventually let me stroke them all over and even the mummy pig dared to come closer and she let me touch her nose and snout. I was so happy to be with the pigs, but also very sad at the same time. They shouldn’t have been there, they shouldn’t have been born in the first place, because they were only born to end up on somebody’s plate. I tried not to get too attached to them because of this, but that is hard when you discover that each of them has his/her own personality. The second time I went to the pigs I discovered a separate, more closed pig pen, that I didn’t notice before. When I looked inside I was shocked. There were about 45-50 piglets in there in all different ages. Some of them were barely 2 weeks old, whilst others were over 8 weeks old already. There was no mummy and the most shocking was that I counted 8 dead ones. They were everywhere and the others walked over them or still cuddled up against them. The circumstances were horrible. There was almost only mud what was mixed up with their poo (what was mainly diarrhoea). There was no milk, but only pellet and water. I was so shocked and sad. From that time I checked up on them every time I went and every time there was one or a few dead ones lying around again. Then this happened 2 weeks ago: I rushed home after a van view, just so I could spend a little time with the piggies before it got dark. I first went to see the orphaned pigs and then I saw one of them who was about to die. He was lying in the middle of the pen and couldn’t get up, but he was still trying to lift up his head though. My heart broke. I was standing there, but I couldn’t do anything. It was the most horrible feeling. I really wanted to take them all home. There were also 4 that were so small and skinny that they just hopped along with the others. Their heads and tails were down and they had such sad eyes. It just was the saddest thing ever. Next to the pig pen were 2 dead ones too. The farmer obviously had taken them out, but just left them there. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and the amazing day I’ve had didn’t feel like it was worth anything anymore. I was so deeply saddened and incredibly angry with the whole world! How could people do this to them? Why do people want to hurt and eat these beautiful intelligent animals? It was all so unfair and I just wanted to shout and scream to the whole world to stop doing this! I felt so powerless. Because I couldn’t get it off my mind, I went back the next morning to see how they were doing. My employers happened to be there too, with the kids and they told me there was one dead piglet. So I told them about what I saw the day before and that I was sure that it was the one I saw. I went to see them and I was right. Whilst I saw it being alive yesterday, there it was, lifeless. I was so upset! We talked about it a little and at that moment there was one of the 2 week old piggies standing next to me on the other side of the fence. He didn’t ran away with the others, but he was just standing there. So I bend over the fence and picked him up. He didn’t even resist, but just let me. What is so unusual for pigs (they naturally do not liked to be picked up). His eyes were infected and one of them was all closed. He was so tiny and light and he was shaking a lot. My employer suggested putting him in my coat. In the meantime she was going home to ask the farmer if I could keep him. It was a very cold day and I waited with him in my coat for quite a bit. After a while he shaked a little less and he made some cute noises when I tried to push him up a little bit, because he kept falling down. He sometimes popped his nose out to sniff in my direction and I really fell in love with him. It might sound weird, but it kind of felt like he was a part of me. I wanted to make him feel better and look after him so badly, it came from really deep within me. Then after 1,5 hour I was so cold that I asked if she heard back yet. She hadn’t, but told me to bring him home and we’d see from there. At home we got some moving blankets together and a big cardboard box. I wrapped him up and put him on the floor. I was a little anxious he’d panic and run, but he seemed too weak to even get up. So whilst I was preparing the cardboard box he just stayed exactly where I put him. As soon as he was in there and my employer prepared a hot water bottle from him, I took a shower. I was so smelly and muddy and I wanted to go to the shops to get him some necessities. Whilst I was in the shower my employer knocked at the door and got me the much wanted news, the farmer got back to her and he was fine with me keeping him. Yay! I was so happy!! I also felt sad though, because his 3 brothers were not likely to survive the night. It was going to be the first night of the season with freezing temperatures and 2 of them had severe diarrhoea and infections.
Before I went to the shop I drove back to the pigs to get him a bit of the pellet he ate over there. He was used to eating that and I didn’t want to change it straight away, in case it would upset his stomach even more. At Sainsbury’s I got him cat litter, a toy (a ball on a rope), a bottle and yes.. milk! I hated to get him milk, because it’s such a non vegan thing to do, but I needed to save his life. At the pet shop I got him a cat litter tray and a jumper. Going home I was only hoping that he would still be alive. He was! I got him out and offered him food and water and he ate and drunk a lot. That made me so happy. After, or sometimes during, I would put him in the litter tray. It did go wrong a few times, but oh well, what do you expect. Every 3 hours I did this, also in the night. My best friend suggested to name him Lucky. I liked it, though I wanted to add something to it. But for first, Lucky was a great name. The next day I looked for a vet who had pig knowledge. I thought there must be somebody around if there is a pig farm so close. I found a practice, but they didn’t do farm animals anymore. I did email them and asked if they knew somebody who did and in the evening I was called by a very nice vet, Julian Slater. We made an appointment for the next morning. He was busy, but so kind to still make a little bit of time early in the morning.
I rushed home from the school run the next morning, but luckily my employer already let him in. He told me that he was about 2 weeks old. That was my first thought too, but later I did think he might be a little bit older and just smaller from being ill. It turned out that Lucky had a big fever, so the vet gave him 2 injections. The first one was to take his temperature down and the second one was with antibiotics. I also got a paste he needed to have 2 times a day, to make his diarrhoea go away. He thought he did have an ok chance of survival though. It made me hopeful, after not daring to hope that he would. By lunchtime his temperature was down, what was such good sign. From that time he was a little bit better every day. He kept sleeping a lot though. For every 10 min he was awake he wanted to sleep a 2-3 hours. In the days after he stayed awake a little longer every time and his diarrhoea was gone (what made it so much easier to clean up after him). Several times I tried to offer him cucumber and blueberries, but he wasn’t interested one bit. In his first week he was also officially named Lucky Oliver. I’ve always loved the name Oliver and it was 1 of the 2 names I’d choose if I had a son. He feels like he is my baby, so Oliver it is. On Wednesday I also got him a new cage, because it was hard to keep the cardboard box clean. So a cage with a plastic bottom was a lot easier to clean and it’s more hygienic.
On Saturday (the 6th day I had him) I gave him a bath. He didn’t particularly like it and it was a little stressful for him. So I made it quick and skipped his head. He really seemed to be a little disappointed with me for doing that to him, haha! Then I put on his jumper and showed him his new bed that came that day, he was a lot happier by then. So happy that he slept for hours in his new bed and really didn’t want to come out. But then around midnight he suddenly started to keep his head tilted to one side. He was also shaking his head/ears the whole time and tried to scratch it with his paws. He also kept moaning like he was in pain and he was clearly uncomfortable. It scared me a lot, because I really thought he had a bleeding in his brains or something like that. It could also be an ear infection though, but I was so panicky that I couldn’t think clearly anymore. The whole week he tried to scratch his ear a little, but as I couldn’t see anything in his ears, I assumed it was just natural behaviour. Also because he has had antibiotics and so I didn’t think it was something alarming. That night was the most horrible and most stressful night, because I really thought I was going to lose him. I stayed up with him until 5:00 in the morning, until I really couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. When I woke up at 8:30 I contacted the vet and he was so kind to come over a few hours later. He also thought of an ear infection, but a mid-ear infection, because just like me, he couldn’t see anything in his ear. He gave him another type of antibiotics, that goes in his drinking water. He also gave him an anti inflammatory that he needed to keep taking once a day for 5 days. After 2 days he kind of stopped keeping his head tilted to one side, though he kept doing it after waking up + he kept shaking and scratching. He did started to be more naughty though. He (all the time) knocked over his food and water within 2 second of me putting it down, he knocked over the bin, started to bite in everything.. he clearly started to feel better and noticed the things around him more and more. It was really time to correct him, raise him well and be sure he’ll grow into a good friendly pig. He learns so fast though. It’s his stubbornness that makes him do things again, haha! He also finally started to show interest in other food than his pellet. He tried cucumber and after a few tries he now finishes a whole piece with great joy (what gives me even more joy!). He also really likes grapes.
I noticed he, like all other pigs, had a big urge for rooting. He didn’t have that at first, but he’s getting older and I guess his instinct is kicking in. So we even went outside for the first time (had to get him a new jumper, because he’s growing and the other one was too small after a week!). Oliver experienced grass for the first time and he really liked it. He can’t stop sniffing everything, chew on every leaf, play with little stones and run and following me around. So from now on we go outside every day. It’s good for him to get used to the temperature and I think the fresh air and rooting in the dirt is healing too. In the weekend I also got him a brush. Not necessarily to brush his hair, but more because I thought he’d love the feeling. I was so right! He loves his brush!
If you want to follow Oliver, to see where he is up to (pictures, videos and InstaStories), then please follow Oliver’s Story on Instagram: @LuckyOliverPig
|> I want to thank Doug & Maryn, my employers, for letting me rescue him and for all the love and support they’re giving him (and me). Without you he wouldn’t have been alive! <|
Thank you so much for reading this huge article! I think this is the longest one ever, haha!
Did you like reading about Oliver? Would you like me to write an update later on? Do you have a similar story or do you want to say something about it? Please let me know in the comments below or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X